Rays beat up on Verlander, force Game Five
The Rays had a hell of a challenge on their hands for Wednesday’s Game Four with their backs against the wall. In a game they could not lose, they were forced to go up against Justin Verlander, one of the modern postseason legends who had absolutely dominated them earlier in the series. The one piece of good news was that the veteran was on short rest, a strange decision given they had a game in hand in the series. Even for the best pitchers it is so hard to pitch on short rest, and it showed here. Verlander was rocked in the first with the Rays scoring three runs right off the bat, an honestly the Astros were lucky it wasn’t worse. They’d get another run in the third on a second homer of the day, and that ended Verlander’s day early. On the other end, the Rays pitching was fantastic against this great Astros lineup. Tampa Bay started with reliever Diego Castillo and pieced the rest of the game together, eventually turning to 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell to get the final two outs. The Rays ended up getting the 4-1 win, and this series heads back to Houston for a win-or-go-home Game Five. The Astros will have Gerrit Cole going while the Rays will go with Tyler Glasnow. Pirates fans may not want to watch this.
Sox Spin: It is obviously tough to root for the Rays, at least for me, but this is a good outcome for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it means we get baseball on Thursday and the most meaningful kind of baseball at that. With the two NL Game Fives today, this makes three decisive games in two days, which is always a good thing. It’s also nice to see the Astros are indeed beatable. I mean, the Red Sox did it just last year, but this Houston roster looked like they were ready to roll through teams for a decade, so it’s nice that it is at least possible to beat them. That said, I still think they win this Game Five.